Eka Nickmatulhuda

Guide to Prevent Ageing
In their efforts to prevent dementia, many senior citizens of Japan spend their time as tourist guides.

We met Ichii-san when we were wandering around Nara, Japan on one of our backpacking adventures in Japan. He offered a free tour guide. I was supposed to feel suspicious about it, but my gut sent no alarm, so we followed him. Nara EGG (English Goodwill Guides) written on his card, just on top of his own name. "My name is easy to remember, it's how you feel when you do this," he made a scratching gesture on his back. Yet, he's not that kind of itch we wish to get rid of. Infact, he was so heart warming and friendly. We were glad to have taken his offer.

He took us to Todai-ji, and as he explained the history of the temple and its complex, he would sometimes peek into his scrapbook. He made it himself. There's tons of information and maps in it. He's so professional. Ichii is part of a community in Nara helping each other to fight dementia. Japan is ageing like them. More than 27 percent of its population are senior citizens, aged beyond 65 years old. Through pro-bono activities like the ones done by Ichii and his colleagues, they actually managed to keep themselves busy and their minds occupied.

More of the story of Ichii who took me and my sisters on a tour in Nara, at the beginning of autumn 2017, can be read in the article : Pramuwisata Melawan Usia in Destin Asian Indonesia website, published in 2018.


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